For the blanks in the following sentences, which tense is correct, will or be going to?

  1. "Closed over the New Year period. This office _____ reopen on 2nd January." (A sign on an office window)

  2. "The 2.35 to Bristol _____ leave from platform 5." (An announcement at a railway station)

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  • In #1, I would just keep the present simple ".. this office reopens on... #2 depends heavily on the context. – user178049 Apr 21 '17 at 12:50
  • Well I am required to choose between will and be going to – Nogard Apr 21 '17 at 13:14
  • @Nogard: You shouldn't be required to make a choice between these two equally acceptable ways of expressing future tense. I suggest a more meaningful choice would be to opt for a different training course or teacher. – FumbleFingers Apr 21 '17 at 13:17
  • @fumblefingers: I appreciate your sarcasm but if the first one is a sign on an office door and the second one is an announcement at a railway station, what tense is normally used here? – Nogard Apr 21 '17 at 13:54
  • Most people writing signs just want to get the message across, not write fine prose for others to admire. So my guess is they'd usually just write reopens / leaves in your examples. Almost nobody would bother writing out things like is going to reopen / leave in such contexts, but it wouldn't actually be wrong. – FumbleFingers Apr 21 '17 at 14:05

The form of the verb in both the situations depends on the context. However, these are my recommendations:

If it can be deduced from the context (if there is one) that the actions are certainly going to happen the way described in the sentence, you should use to be going to. Anyways, I think you should choose this form for both of them, because there are certain details (the date and the place) specified in the body of the sentence:

  1. This office is going to reopen...

  2. The 2.35 to Bristol is going to leave...

In this context, both the forms are nearly equivalent, but the details are most likely the "decision-makers". However, both of them are equally acceptable.

However, if you would not be constrained to use these forms, and there is no context from which you can tell which one to use, I think you'd better off with:

  1. This office is reopening on January 2nd. (present continuous - expresses plans)

When it comes to the second sentence, I would use is going to leave, simply because travelling is (usually) carefully planned out and this form of the verb expresses a certain action.


If the statements are written on signs, choose will, because it is shorter and matches such a context.

  • Sorry I forgot to mention the first one is a sign placed on an office window and the second sentence is an announcement made at a railway station. In that case, what would be your opinion? – Nogard Apr 21 '17 at 13:57
  • Still the same, but will is equally acceptable. It's unclear and they're nearly equivalent – Mr. Xcoder Apr 21 '17 at 13:59

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